A friend a few years back convinced me to join MyPoints, which is basically a rewards program for reading e-mails, filling out surveys, and participating in offers. The really lucrative point payouts are triggered when you buy through merchants, but there are also a steady stream of small point offers that trickle in just for reading the e-mails and clicking through to the advertisers’ websites.
It’s easy to accumulate 30-50 points every few days with about one minute’s worth of effort, and maybe twice that many with slightly more effort, and without buying anything:
- Set up a rule in your e-mail client to put e-mails with “MyPoints” in the sender name in its own directory. This consolidates the point mails and gets them out of the way of the rest of your e-mail traffic.
- Every few days, go down the line of BonusMails (you’ll get maybe a dozen or so) and click on the point links in the e-mails. The “BonusMails” usually will give you 5 points for just reading the message. A $5 Starbucks gift card costs 800 points. I can usually click the button in the e-mail in about five seconds, from start to finish. So I spend about 15 minutes (over the course of a few months!) to earn a $5 gift card. The thing to remember is that you can’t wait too long, because the e-mails expire after a week or two. Every few days is optimal.
- You can build up the points in a shorter period of time by participating in the surveys. These take a little longer, so the payout for time spent isn’t quite as high, but you’ll reach the 800-point mark faster. When I participate in the “SurveyMails” I give as little information as possible. Many of the surveys ask for race information and income information. I always “prefer not to say” because this seems to get me booted from the survey a little more often. I’m not lying; I’m just not providing much of a profile. I get 10 points if I “don’t qualify” for the survey, meaning that MyPoints doesn’t get paid by the advertiser as much for my responses.
- If you are really organized, you can do trial offers. These give lots more points, but you have to remember to cancel if you’re doing it just for the points. I’ve gotten burned before so I stay away from these.
- You can get points for signing up for a newsletter. I signed up for the Gather.com newsletter (offered through NPR) and got 50 points. It’s a free newsletter. I don’t have to subscribe forever.
Now the main thing here is that MyPoints promptly delivers the cards when you redeem them. I’ve never had a problem cashing in my points. They’re fast.
So if you’d like some easy gift cards, join MyPoints and get yourself some!